Review: The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down (Toronto Irish Players)

Part-Musical, Part-Comedy, Part-Drama is a “fun night out” at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto

The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down, currently on stage at The Alumnae Theatre, is part musical, part comedy, and part drama as per director Michael Hiller’s program notes. I was intrigued to see how all of these parts would coalesce, and enjoyed how everything came together for an entertaining show.

Set in a small pub in County Cavan on St. Stephen’s night 2007, the show opens with the characters celebrating the assumed birthday of local bar regular The Horse (Ian McGarrett). Dramas are slowly revealed throughout the first half, with bartender Barney (Stephen Flett) finding himself in a particular mess because of his separate dalliances with two of the bar’s patrons. Continue reading Review: The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down (Toronto Irish Players)

Review: Breath In Between (Crow’s Theatre)

Breath in Between vacillates between “artifice and symbolism”, on stage in Toronto

“I’m sick of all this artifice,” proclaims Roger, the main character of Anton Piatigorsky’s Breath In Between. Coming about two-thirds of the way through the Crow’s Theatre show playing at Streetcar Crowsnest, it’s a meta moment, as this is a show that trades heavily on artifice and symbolism.

In fact, it walks a fine line between artifice and painful earnestness, as it attempts to ponder the constantly-switching sacred and profane in human connection. It’s a complicated and dark show about deeply unpleasant people, with a philosophical bent that intrigues and irritates in equal measure. Breath In Between will stay with you, and it’s never boring, but for a show that’s all about the heart, it’s difficult to love.

Continue reading Review: Breath In Between (Crow’s Theatre)

Review: Elephant Girls (Red Sandcastle Theatre)

Elephant Girls is an entertaining, gender-bending piece of theatre, on stage in Toronto

In post war era London, an all female gang called the Forty Elephants were notorious for theft and extortion. Now Margo MacDonald, as both playwright and performer, brings them to life in in Elephant Girls, onstage at Red Sandcastle theatre as part of The Wilde Festival.

With intimidating poise and a sly script that balances between understated pathos and thrilling adventure, MacDonald’s show is sure to please anyone with an interest in history, queerness, or just an entertaining seventy minutes in the theatre. Continue reading Review: Elephant Girls (Red Sandcastle Theatre)

John & Waleed (Theatre Passe Muraille and Cahoots Theatre)

Photo of John Millard and Waleed Abdulhamid by Michael Cooper

John & Waleed Bridge Worlds and Harmonies at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille

I walked into to John & Waleed, now playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, expecting an afternoon of pleasant tunes from the eponymous creators/performers John Millard and Waleed Abdulhamid, but I was worried that this show featuring “harmonies” created out of “dissonant upbringings” would be too easy on our increasingly troubled times.

Fortunately John & Waleed proved me wrong by subtly provoking complicated questions on identity and history rather than placating them.

Continue reading John & Waleed (Theatre Passe Muraille and Cahoots Theatre)

Review: One Step at a Time (Andrew Prashad)

Andrew Prashad’s one-person show lands on the Toronto stage

You know how once in a while you leap to your feet at the end of a performance and it’s almost an involuntary reaction? That was me – and the rest of the audience – on Saturday evening after seeing Andrew Prashad in his one-person show One Step at a Time at the Randolph Theatre. Continue reading Review: One Step at a Time (Andrew Prashad)

Playlistings in Toronto for the week of February 20th

Shows That Caught Our Eye in Toronto the Week of February 20th, 2017

With so many new shows opening this week in Toronto, you may have trouble deciding which famous (or local!) writer you want to spend an evening with. To help you in your decision-making is our editor Samantha. She’s chosen a fews shows that caught her eye in red text. Check them out below the cut:

Continue reading Playlistings in Toronto for the week of February 20th

Review: Deceitful Above All Things (The Storefront Theatre and Favour The Brave Collective)

Photo of Genevieve Adam and John Fitzgerald Jay in Deceitful Above All Things Storefront Theatre presents a tale of discovery in the new world, on stage in Toronto

The ‘new world’ is more than just a struggle to survive, it’s also a struggle to let go of who you really are in the wilderness. The Storefront Theatre’s Deceitful Above All Things — done in association with Favour The Brave Collective — playing at the Factory Theatre Studio attempts to strip away historical veneers of Canada in the 1600’s to get at the humanity underneath.

While there’s a wealth of material, I can’t help but think all that focus on humanity also lost some of the plot.

Continue reading Review: Deceitful Above All Things (The Storefront Theatre and Favour The Brave Collective)